2 men arrested in an investigation into a famous tree that was felled near Hadrian’s Wall in England


LONDON (AP) — Two more men have been arrested in the investigation into who cut down the world-famous Sycamore Gap tree, police in England said Wednesday.

The men, both in their 30s, were released on bail Tuesday without being charged in the felling of the iconic sycamore that stood for about 150 years next to the Roman landmark of Hadrian’s Wall, according to Northumbria Police.

On the night between Sept. 27 and 28, the tree was cut down, causing some damage to the wall, a UNESCO World Heritage Site built nearly 2,000 years ago, when Britain was part of the Roman Empire, to guard its northwestern frontier.

The 50-foot-tall (15-meter-long) tree planted in the 1800s stood out in a dip between two hills along the wall and became famous after it appeared in Kevin Costner’s 1991 film “Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves.” It became a popular subject for photographers.

Police arrested a 16-year-old boy and a man in his 60s soon after the fallen tree was discovered. Each was released after questioning.

People in the Northumberland area and nature lovers across Britain have been outraged by what police described as “senseless destruction” and an act of vandalism.

“The loss of Sycamore Gap has been felt deeply across the community as well as further afield,” Detective Chief Inspector Rebecca Fenney-Menzies said. “As a force, we have seen many touching tributes from those who have detailed what this iconic landmark meant for them personally and for our region.”

A crane was used last month to remove the tree in large sections. The National Trust, which seeks to protect England’s heritage and natural landscapes, is storing the tree in a safe, undisclosed location.

The stump is being protected behind a barrier to see if it will generate new shoots. Seeds were collected from the tree that could be used to propagate saplings.

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